Friday, May 27, 2016

How it all starts..... and where the heck have I been.

Inspiration is everywhere you are willing to see it.

The month of April and May have just ripped away from me almost worse than Christmas if I'm being honest. This blog has suffered and you are now officially out of the loop. I am going to try to fix that. Give you some updates and get some great summer house photos out here.

Real role models push us to be better and be the best versions of ourselves.

*bumper sticker alert before we get going*

We all have those role models. The ones we stalk online, read about voraciously, visit if possible. Role models for all aspects of life as well. I have been a blogger for many years so occasionally we have people come into the store that have been reading my blog since the beginnning from all over Ontario and I believe the farthest was Massachusetts. They are stoked to meet me and see the store they have read about in person. It's surreal to me as I am just living my dream and pushing harder than I ever thought I could to make it work and these people want to know me, see me and ask questions.  I have been an avid follower myself of certain retailers, bloggers and designers for a long time as well. I remember being so excited to meet Miss Mustard Seed in person and Cassie of Primitive & Proper off the top of my head. When it comes to meeting and greeting local retailers it becomes a certain balance of give and take and learning from them but remembering to give as well. Some people don't abide by the community over competition motto however which, you learn super quickly in this business.

When we first started this home decor business out of our garage, multiple people told me I needed to check out Shannon Passero. It is a mostly local clothing store in Thorold. She is also an international clothing designer with 2 largely successful lines to her credit. She has most of the clothes made in Thailand where she employs women fairly with health care benefits including maternity leave and free english classes just to name a few things. She empowers woman in the best way. She had renovated an old firehall and turned it into a fantastic Anthropologie-esque style store. The fixtures well thought out, industrial and tons of style. I never actually made it to that store but knew who she was. She out grew the space in no time and within the next year or so moved into a space almost 10x's the size. Now keeping in mind that in the Niagara Region we have a ton of great things to do, wineries, micro breweries, antiques, culture, restaurants for foodies, an ever growing food truck culture, outlet shopping but we do not have a huge amount of great downtown cultures with tons of shoppes. I've been in those towns in the States. Where every store you step in is amazing, all a little different and I usually just walk around in a daze and have to keep turning around as Trevor my best shopping partner keeps calling me to look at things.

Back to the story, when she renovated the new space in the old post office uniquely dubbed "The Post Office" I knew I needed to make it there. I wandered around for 2 hours the first time. I was just enthralled with the space, the energy, the thought out details that just have not existed in this area. As a store owner myself I notice the little things that maybe customers take for granted or don't see but adds to their experience without even realizing it. Of course I used the bathroom because nothing tells a story in a store targeted at women like a horrid bathroom. I could have moved in with the tiling details and the nice soap, orchids. You get the picture.
Needless to say, I came home that night in a blabber whirlwind, talking Trevor's ear off. I started researching everything there is to know about this woman who opened a successful store in a not so known for it town and was more than making it work.

Where am I going with this little diatribe?
Welllllll let me tell you.

A few weeks ago now at the end of a Saturday I was helping a few sets of last minute customers in the store nothing overly exciting, answering questions about mix and matching bunnies etc. I happened to look out the window and saw a mass of blond hair. Now that isn't a judgement, if any of you have met me you know I also have massive hair (someone has actually called me Medusa under their breath thinking I couldn't hear once)

I kind of did a "no it can't be" in my head. I've done so much reading about her I actually recognized her by her hair walking by. The customer I was dealing with asked me a question again about the rabbit in her hand and I missed it completely because in walked a lovely little girl followed by her mother. I must have gasped out loud because the rabbit lady asked if I was ok.  I finished with my customers and grabbed my phone texting my husband, mom and employee Jill in a panic. Then the internal panic happened. See as much as people love the store, come in gushing there is no critic as hard on me as myself. It is what pushes me to work these ridiculous 70-80 hour weeks for the last year. And when someone you admire walks in that is so doing it right, you just want to be on, you know?

Shannon introduced herself even though no introduction was necessary (although she didn't know that) and we got to talking. I calmed down slightly inside and turned the confidence meter up. She asked if I would ever be interested in collaborating with her in her space especially with the plants that Oliver and Rust is quickly becoming known for.

There was leaping inside my stomach. I almost had to bend over and catch my breath. This all happened inside while I continued the conversation. She left and only a few minutes later we were closed for the day so the stereo went up and the vacuum dancing began.

I talked about it all weekend the opportunity that this could present. Her store is a monster in the sense of customers, local and not local. My store is located in a burgeoning town but not with high tourist traffic so I really run my ads and work through social media for attention. Being a part of a store like hers is like a Visa commercial, PRICELESS!

However you're never really sure if someone like that is just being nice when in the moment and if anything will ever come of it. 

Two days later Jill called me all excited that Shannon Passero's operation manager had left a message at the store to move forward and see where my interest level was. I almost died.

Here we go.

This all happened 3 weeks ago and I am so PLEASED and PROUD to say we are officially a mini garden store inside The Post Office by Shannon Passero.

We have started out with a mostly succulent table for the summer season coming and testing the waters for what the customers enjoy.

Jill and I planted our hearts out for the setup and went 2 Friday's ago to do the initial table.

The ladies working in the store were so excited and helpful watching us work with the plants and hammer the table together. Jill and I are very much like the same brain now (it's really weird and we get mistaken for sisters all the time) and don't necessarily speak a lot when we're working on displays like this as we just get the idea out.

Here's more of what the space turned out like and here are also some teaser shots from inside the store to give you a feel of what we are working with. And I will apologize for being a bad blogger as these are all cell phone shots as I keep forgetting my camera on the days I go there. This store is 6500 sq feet of jammed packed awesome. All of the clothes are not necessarily for everyone but there are gems just waiting to be discovered at every turn.

So that's part one of where I've been. Next up, we were in Indonesia. What????!?

Have a great day everyone,


What I'm Listening to:

Hard Sun: Eddie Vedder
Highway Girl: The Tragicall Hip (bc who that grew up in the last 20 years hasn't turned it on this week with the terrible news)
Somebody's Knockin: Eric Clapton

Friday, April 22, 2016

to topiary or not to topiary.

Good morning and it's Friday and earth day!

I guess I took a little beginning of April blog break here and it's time to share again.

The weather is turning from winter to spring, almost summer here so in between store and work we have been busily getting our gardens cleaned out, raking, setting up our patio again, turning the pond back into a gorgeous water feature instead of green sludge land with fish. This time of year I always get antsy to put out plants along with the cleaning but our nights are just too cold still and the fear of frost keeps the money in my wallet until the plants won't just shrivel and die. I did make up a little wicker planter with colourful pansies for our back table just to get me through though.

And continuing on with some green rambling since it is earth day. Although shouldn't every day kind of be earth day. Where we pay attention to what we throw out and where. Plant a tree, recycle, don't put your batteries in the garbage etc.

I know that's a bit of my tree hugging green thumb coming through there.

In store I just picked up a good amount of myrtle topiaries that so many people have been asking for (and they really are quite easy to care for) and eugenia topiaries for larger planters and hopefully soon to decorate our porches and patios.

There's just something about a topiary that adds that classic look to any space.
In a big white pot it looks a tich modern, a galvanized bucket more rustic traditional and in a wicker basket country chic. You choose I guess.

so here obviously you can see the size difference between the 3.5" lemon cypress topiary to the 6" eugenia. They do however look quite good together. Maybe a group of 3?

loi's topiaries are everywhere on pinterest as he has a huge collection perfectly trimmed and they mostly live in aged terracotta. just gorgeous!

one of the myrtles in store in a mossy green clay pot. you can trim these plants as much or as little as you want to keep them perfect or a little messy.

i love the wall arrangement in this room never mind all the excellent plantings that are around as well. [source]

i am pretty sure i would gasp aloud walking into a nursery that just had these sitting like this in terracotta. [source]

That's it for me here today all,

Have a great weekend,


What we're listening to:
Starfish and Coffee: Prince (RIP)
Can't Let you do it: Eric Clapton
Night Moves: Bob Seger

Thursday, March 31, 2016

LARGE & modern

Good morning all,

So everyone survived the chocolate coma brought on by that little rabbit last weekend and the chaos of the grocery stores from being closed 2 days?

It's such a fun thing now getting all the emails from long time readers and new people about how much they are starting to enjoy plants from high to low maintenance.

Adding that kick of green to your home can make all the difference but also knowing your level of commitment to the green lovelies will help with your success. Buying a plant that requires a bit of daily care when you know you work 60 hours a week, are forgetful, or are self admittedly lazy will only bring upon disappointment in the end.

Today we are going to build a big and modern succulent planter.
and luckily it has no daily needs other than a lot of light.

Skill level : beginner
Cost: $$ [depending on your container and amount of succulents the cost could obviously get a bit higher]
Time: 15 min plus supply pick up
large round or square planter that suits your space but is unfussy in looks
10-20 mini succulents
cactus soil
filler such as bubble wrap

the planter i am using today is a large round galvanized container and stands about 5" high.

because i am planning on using succulents i want some drainage to make sure their feet "roots" don't stay wet and i want to save myself some soil so i stuffed the bottom with a bubble wrap sheet. you can use plastic bags, empty yogurt containers upside down, whatever works and then pile your soil right on top leaving about a 1/2 inch from the top of your planter because you need space for the gravel to settle into.

gently line up you succulents so they are nestled in tight to one another in your desired pattern, i choose a straight line knowing i wanted a more graphic look once the gravel is added.
this is also a good step to gently water your plants prior to adding the gravel. when you are using new soil from the bag it is light and fluffy so if you do the gravel and then water the fluffy will come through ruining your new white landscape.

add your gravel to fill in the spaces and use a spoon or fork to gently life the larger plants to get the stone in all areas so no soil is showing

et voila.
your new modern planter is ready for the coffee table, dining room table, wherever you like as long as it is very bright.

this planter will need water about every week and a half but every home is different so do a little finger test for dampness. when in doubt wait a few more days as succulents would much rather neglect than over watering.

Have a fantastic day everyone and enjoy the last day of March.
Time for some April flowers, or was it showers?


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Signs of spring on the main floor

Good morning!

This early spring thing has me a little giddy this year. It wasn't a particularly hard winter but listening to the light rain yesterday while doing paperwork and seeing the green buds of my bulbs just starting to creep through has me drifting. Thoughts of getting my hands in the dirt, feet up on a lounger at night has been slightly distracting.

In order to help with some of the distraction I flipped our house out of winter mode the past few weeks and into spring mode. I love seasonal decorating as it isn't holiday specific, refreshes your home in a way that makes me smile when I walk around and changes the look of a space with minimal effort.

Away went the furs, plaids and reindeer.
Out came the bunnies, indigos and plants a plenty.

Our spring home tour of the main floor,

i always like this peek through look from our sofa, that catches the back of the sofa table (and my new yoga rabbit in cobra position), the azalea on our coffee table and the mantel all in one shot

the spring mantel. bunnies, terracotta, mushrooms and green
and don't tigers just scream spring. not really but they are our staple

not that it's unusual for me with the green but i made the sofa table a collection of our green glass including my ever growing collection of flower frogs. this table was very simple for winter so i am enjoying the heavier mix for now

our front entrance is not much different but that vintage watkins carrier on the floor with the hydrangea finally came home with me. when i say finally i mean i left it in an antique store 7 times over a 2 year period for various reasons, too much money, no place for it and then when i was there around my birthday it just stared at me and since 99% of the the vintage i buy now goes to the store i went with a little treat for myself. it kind of felt like an orphaned piece that needed a home so i adopted it.

we've had this big urn in the dining room for a few years but would you believe this is the first time i have actually planted it with live plants. loving the look with the golden moss and maidenhair ferns

Hope you enjoyed your slice of spring.

For anyone local this weekends shop hours are below for visiting,

Have a lovely day everyone,


** DISCLAIMER: for my local readers that may be new here. this blog is how the shop you visit started and occasionally the posts you see involve my actual home. many of the items resemble items in the shop or may actually be items that can be found there however, the ones found in the photos of my home are not for sale no matter how nicely you ask **